One of the interesting parts of writing my novel, Bullets, Blood and Stones: the journey of a child soldier, has been doing the research. Travelling to Uganda on two occasions, interviewing former child soldiers and going on a safari in the northern savannah has provided me with loads of material. But there are times when I have to rely on that new fangled encyclopedic source of all knowledge: the internet.
So I have googled such things as:
- How to disassemble, reassemble and load an AK-47
- How to set a land mine
- What happens to a person as they are hung, when they are shot
And my favourite:
- What does a dead body smell like after 3 days?
I chuckle at the thought of some police authority confiscating my computer and doing a history check. Just may set me up for some heavy interrogation in a room with a one way mirror.
I’ve tried out a few guns too, which makes my husband, son, and brother, who are all avid hunters, laugh. I could never kill anything in my life. But I have tried out an AK-47 in Uganda (Shh. Don’t tell. Totally illegal.) And an SKS that my son somehow got a hold of, complete with bayonet for up close combat. And I have my sights set on going to the West Edmonton Mall someday and going to their indoor shooting range to try my hands on a PSA 7.5″ AR-15 w/Holosun Red Dot.
Guess what I’m trying to say is that if you’re going to write about something, you need to do the research, and if it means going out of your comfort zone, then so be it. Besides, there’s always some pretty interesting things that happen along the way. Like meeting really amazing people and elephants and monkeys. Yes monkeys. But that’s another story.
My journey as an author, giving voice to child soldiers.